From the TBR Shelf #18: The Secret History by Donna Tartt Secret History (1992) by Donna Tartt

Oh. My.

Seriously- I had only two words left in my brain after finishing this novel cause IT. WAS. BRILLIANT.

Now, if you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that I don't normally praise books like this- just the really fantastic ones. I could tell early on that The Secret History would suck me in and deprive me of sleep, as all really great books do. Tartt offers us a narrative at once gripping, anxiety-inducing, and fascinating, all at the same time. After all, "murderous Classics students" is an intriguing phrase, no?

Tartt offers us a narrative that constantly questions how far people are willing to go in pursuit of their own desires. Richard (the narrator) begins by just wanting to fit into this tight-knit group of Classics students at Hampden College, but winds up trying to understand how their unofficial leader could exercise enough sway over their minds to make them conspire to kill and then cover it up.

Ultimately, The Secret History reminds us that we can never truly know other people, because they are not just a product of their genes and experiences, but also of their relationships and the power dynamics inherent in them. The reader, looking at the world through Richard's eyes, is constantly trying to piece things together in an effort to understand how an obsession with ancient Greece and a charismatic Classics professor could lead a group of intelligent college students to murder and conspiracy. Perhaps it is just that unquestioned authority is always dangerous.

Of course, I plan on reading The Little Friend and The Goldfinch cause I'm all on board with Donna Tartt. After all, I didn't want this book to end.


  1. Ohhh man I want to read this book! It sounds so good. I started The Goldfinch and think it's pretty good, but I heard that The Secret History was even better. I didn't really know anything about it, though. Glad that you wrote a review right when I was thinking about it. Reading about Classics students at a normal college sounds good now that I'm three years into art school in a big city, too haha.

  2. Secret History is SO GOOD! I love Donna Tartt so much, she's the best writer of our time I reckon.

    Haven't read Secret history for years - might have to think about a re-read :)